Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Interview Series: Week 23 – Cat’s Wire

So I’m a little on the air-headed side today, as it’s Tuesday and I didn’t get this done sooner.  Oops!
I’ve had a bit on my plate this week, or rather in the past month.  Two weeks ago I mentioned all the stuff about my website and getting things ready for Black Friday and the start of the Holiday Season.  I’m not sure if I mentioned anything that happened at HOME…

Well, we had a small catastrophe or two.  One, the front right burner on our stove decided about a month ago that Nope, it was done. Stopped working, with a very nasty display of snapping its coils.  After cleaning up the mess it left, we blocked it up and turned it into a trivet, since it was the large burner out of the four.  A week or so later, the back burner, through some mischief, died in a…. well, let’s say a very interesting way.  Somehow, one of the plastic butter-dishes we have was left ON said burner.  The burner was cold, but being the back right burner, it also serves as the oven-vent.  We don’t know if it was my sister or me, but someone turned on the oven and didn’t realize that dish was there.  Melted Plastic City… and anything cooked in the oven had a slightly plastic-y taste and smell.

Mom said it was a Sign.  … to get the range she WANTED instead of the piece of junk that came with the house.  That will be delivered .. tomorrow, as you read this on Wednesday, December 5, 2012.  We’ve been scrambling to make sure that furniture is moved, and the kitchen scoured so installation will be quick and easy when the folks from Lowes get here.

After working on that all day, I came into my room to get started on this… and read my email.  “Junk.. Junk.. You have received payment from… WHAT?!”  A sale. … A .. Sale?  What sold?!  And lo and behold, one of my Elemental Earwrap/Earcuff sets sold – Fire. So I contacted the buyer to see if they needed gift packaging/wrap, and to make sure it was okay that it will be shipped Friday, yadda, yadda, get the invoice typed up awaiting further instructions… cook dinner, and then get started HERE.

I wasn’t going to miss this week because the stuff this lady makes is stunning, intricate and just plain awe-inspiringly gorgeous!

Meet Catrin, of Cat’s Wire on Zibbet, a member from Germany!  I would say more, as her story is interesting, but I’ll let her do the talking instead!

Name: Catrin
Craft: I create jewelry and little sculptures using different techniques, mostly wire crochet, wire knit (done with a crochet hook) and bead looming at the moment
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!): Wire, both silver and copper, cabochons, stones and beads of all kind are the materials I use most, but I also dabble in polymer clay every, now and then and I'll use anything else that I find and seem fit for a design
Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows you attend): That's impossible to answer, there isn't a particular seller I admire because there are so many talented people out there doing so many different things

2989175-original[1]Bead loomed ladybug cuff – Coccinellula
I can’t imagine how much time this took, and it is absolutely admirable – and adorable!

Mine-ICON What got you into your craft?

CatsWire Actually it was a TV news show about all kinds of things that have to do with computers or the internet. I happened to catch the part about Etsy, got curious and had a look. There I stumbled upon a wire crochet piece that fascinated me. I came back again and again until I finally decided to get myself a book. I looked at the pictures once, I tried to learn the paragraph about wire gauges, then I bought some wire at the bead store, took my only crochet hook and jumped into the cold water

Mine-ICON How did you learn your craft?

CatsWire I'm pretty much self taught because I love to experiment and because I am too impatient for tutorials. Of the three tutorials I own I read the first few sentences and then went for it. This is not to say the tutorials weren't any good, it's me who is not good with them, I'm afraid

2829991-original[1]Silver wire knit earrings with faux amber cabochons
These struck me as stunning for their simple look, but complicated wire-detail.

Mine-ICON What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?

CatsWire Oh dear. I am from Southern Germany and my name is Catrin, but many of my friends call me Cat which is perfect since I'm a crazy cat lady, meaning both that I'm a crazy lady and that my cats are crazy, all four of them. There's also a crazy bunny and four very busy gerbils - I can hear them, they are probably moving furniture ...

Originally I'm a librarian at a university, due to health reasons I am working part-time. The rest of my time is spent on crafting, DVDs, books, online activities and the critters ... not necessarily in that order.

I am blessed with a vivid imagination and my brain often works overtime, like last night when I dreamed that a cheetah felt the urge to lick my face in the street, then a bear got ready to attack afterwards, but I got away because I needed to pick up my monkey from the cellar. Then again it sometimes does come up with really cool stuff that I am proud of!

2127572-original[1] Silver wire crochet pendant with moonstones - Mary had a little lamb
At first I saw a beautiful cluster of Moonstones.  Then I looked again, and squealed at the cuteness!

Mine-ICON What is a typical "working" day for you? How does it usually start and end? How many hours do you spend crafting? How many hours do you spend on other things? What about distractions? I know we all have them! Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?

CatsWire The first three days of the week belong to my day job. I have a long day and when I come home, my cats need attention, so there's not much with creating or promoting. The other days are not that structured, either. Of course I never accomplish all I wanted to. If I feel I'm really getting behind on things, I make a to-do list to get me back into the routine, but usually I don't organize my day that much. I'm organized at my day job and I rather go with the flow on the other days, even if I have vague plans, like taking pictures the next day or listing pieces that have been lying around for a bit.

I'm also volunteering at a club, so that takes up time as well, then there's my family that I visit at least once a week, my cats, friends ...

Mine-ICON What happens when you Oops? Everyone gets one sometime or another! Do you get frustrated and destroy/start over, or do you go with the flow and see what comes out in the end?

CatsWire That depends. I have my UFOs lying around and my WIPs. Sometimes I tear a piece up, sometimes it turns into something totally different which can just be as much fun.

3115166-original[1] Wire crochet Christmas wreath earrings and necklace
I have seen Trees, Snowmen, Candles, Gifts… But never wreaths.  This set is gorgeous!

Mine-ICON What is your design process like? How many tries does it take to be happy with the final product?

CatsWire If it's a wire project that I'm working in, I more often than not jump into it without much planning. Some items I fiddle with forever, maybe because just one loop isn't the way I want it to be, some items just go perfectly from start to end. The bead loomed pieces obviously have to be planned as I need a pattern, but even they can change during crafting because I might add a 3D accent in the end or a fringe or something else.

2958398-original[1] Golden wire knit collar with beads - Egyptian dream
I can’t imagine the time spend for the detail of this.  The result is breathtaking…

Mine-ICON What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? Broken needle? Jump ring jumping out of your pliers? Thread knots? Cats? Dogs? The family hedgehog rolled about in your yarn basket?

CatsWire My brain, my eyes and my hands. There are times, usually when I am too exhausted to crawl out of the hole, when I try to make something, but I can feel my brain working against me. The only thing to do then is drop everything and do something else. That doesn't happen very often, though, because I have learned to recognize it before I even start.

I am wearing glasses and with the age and all the work on the computer and with little beads, my eyes tire more easily than they used to. I hate if I really want to finish something, but my eyes kind of start blurring up.

Wire crochet and knit is not all that easy on hands and wrists, so it can happen that they are simply hurting too much to go on.

The rest I can deal with - cats spilling beads or trying to steal stuff, components jumping through the room, whatever ... that's just part of the game.

Mine-ICON All important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?

CatsWire I don't have a real formula, but I am absolutely convinced that my work justifies my prices. There are a lot of hours in most of my pieces, probably much more than people see. Then there's the time I need to take and edit pictures, to list the pieces. And not to forget, there is a big part of me, of my soul, of my thoughts and feelings, in every piece. It may sound cheesy, but that's the way it is, and it is what makes handmade special - that does not just go for me.
Many of my pieces are one of a kind and have their own little story of inspiration.

Of course I have made things that I later found to not be good enough or too simple because over the time I improved my skills. I have donated many of those pieces, and sometimes they do get ripped up eventually.

2495034-original[1] Wire crochet turtle sculpture - Sam Toitle
This little guy made me squee. I could go on about the detail and intricacy, but I’m too busy squeeing “Turtle!!”

Mine-ICON And of course, is there anything else you'd like to say to our "viewers at home"?

CatsWire My brain is pretty empty at the moment, but you can follow me on Facebook or my blog to be there when I have something to say!


Something in this minnerview called out to me as I finished posting, and I’d like to add a little here.  One thing I’ve not touched on was exactly what Cat said: A part of the soul, thoughts and feelings, a piece of the artist themselves goes into each and every piece they create.
It may not have occurred to me before because I had been doing some basic things, but now that I have sold my first One of a Kind items… I understand more than ever.  I loved my Fire Earwrap/Cuff Set.  I even did wear it once or twice, hoping to get some attention.  It seems one of the folks who saw it, bought it after I gave them my card.

The Elemental Earwrap/Cuff series was one of the most intricate bits of work I’ve ever done, and was one of the very first works of wearable art that I have produced that can not be duplicated later on.  They are truly one of a kind, not just unique.  It will not stop me from making another Fire wrap and cuff, but it will never be the same as the first, no matter if I try to shape the wire similarly or use the same colors.  Nothing will make it anything like the first one.

A part of my soul will be nestled into that box with the pretty organza covering.  It will leave me, and go to someone else.  I just hope and pray that whoever next slips Fire onto their ear will know that there is a part of me there, and I hope it brings them as much joy to wear as it brought me to make.

Thanks for reading to one and all, as always! Until next time!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Interview Series: Week 22 – Enchanted Craft

Ever have a week where you’ve gotten so used to quiet and then all of a sudden BAM! Everything you’ve been waiting on is suddenly in your face, on your doorstep, or falling on the floor, off the plate that had once been empty but is now overfull?
That’s me!

The To-Do list has grown in the past few days, to the point of wanting about 6 more pairs of hands, 4 more heads, and another 10 pairs of feet.  Sadly, this would make me look ridiculous, and wouldn’t help much because the feet would be moving in 11 different directions, my hands would be trying to accomplish 7 tasks at once with only one computer and one set of jewelry tools, and my heads would all be aching from trying to pay attention to 5 different tasks.
But I would look very funny in the process!

As everyone knows, Winter Holiday Shopping Season begins this coming Friday (if it hasn’t already begun for many of you – I know that I shop all year to avoid the crazy insanity of the Rush!), and I am driving myself to be prepared.  In the past week and a half, I have taken over 1,000 photographs, coded several web pages (with my Uber Awesome Boyfriend, more commonly known as UAB on my Facebook Page coding more of them FOR me), edited 50-60 photographs, argued with UAB’s web host (he set up a “live” beta site that we can both work on) for being down for more than 2 weeks, resulting in the two of us crossing wires in some coding, and set up a new shop on Goodsmiths, restocked my Etsy store, relisted some things on Zibbet and MadeItMyself, and I am still working so everything is LIVE on Thursday Night!

But before I get back to photo-editing… I have something more important to share with you all!

I got a reply, at last!

Today, the artist I bring to you touches something in my soul, because I am indeed a gamer, and love fantasy.  The pretties I offer up today are all things I personally thought to myself “ooh, I want one!”, and there is in fact, one item that might find its way into my home, but I’ll share it anyway!

Meet another pair of artists contributing to Enchanted Craft of Zibbet, and be enchanted by their excellent work, and wide selection for any fantasy lover!

Nicole and Gigi Angell
Each of us has our own special area in crafting. I (Nick) am the painter, sculptor, jewelry maker, and seamstress. Gigi (mom) is the knitter, crocheter and stitcher. I like to call Gigi the fiber artist of our team.
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!):
I think the easiest way to put this is... “My favorite medium is whatever medium I am working in right this second.” So it can vary from oil paint to poly clay from one day to the next. Gigi loves the look and feel of beautiful yarns and threads. We both would love to have a room filled with scraps of colorful scraps of fabric and fibers. To us they look like a bright spring flower garden.
Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows you attend):
We really have a couple of ‘best sellers’. The R2-D2 hat both in Fleece and knitted are amazing sellers. Our Doctor Who Tardis fingerless gloves are also very popular. We make them in fleece and in a knitted version.


2794831-original[1]Hand Knitted tARDis beanie Hat inspired by Dr Who
The gloves are mentioned above, but I would totally wear the hat too!

Mine-ICON What got you into your craft?

enchantedcraft I can safely say I was born wanting to create. Lucky for me both my parents encouraged me to ‘try it all’. My Mom taught me how to sew, knit, crochet, and just plain be creative. My Dad was happy to let me use every tool in the garage and woodshop. They both deserve the credit for who I am.

Mine-ICON How did you learn your craft?

enchantedcraft Trial and error! Except for sewing, knitting, and crocheting I taught myself all of my other skills. I had some really great ‘art’ teachers in high school that just gave me the keys to the storeroom with instructions of ‘go teach yourself something’ so I did! Pottery, casting statues, silk screening, sculpting, metalwork, printing are just some of the things I ‘learned’ from exploring those storerooms in high school.


1309211-original[1] "Just Hanging Around" Painting of a happy froggy
This is adorable.  My mother LOVES frogs, and I think she would be “cuted out” by this!

Mine-ICON What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?

enchantedcraft An insane person. Really. I am that person you know that always has a new project happening and can explain anything to you. My ability to teach means that when I taught science and English for 3 years the kids got more than just ‘those subjects’. I would hop from the science right to the ‘art’ found within the subject. The kids would ask me the strangest questions- knowing (or wishing) that I would have the answer. They were right- I am very well rounded… so I could answer in a knowledgeable way. Insane? Oh yea. Live bugs in my desk, eating lichen off a tree, or having the kids do the ‘earthquake dance’ (don’t ask)- they never knew what to expect. I don’t teach now- but the other teachers around me still come for lessons, explanations, and posters for their rooms.

I’m a nut hat home too- when things go right I have a happy dance. I walk my cat on a leash. Anything that could be painted gets a paint job. I have chickens that are cuddled at a drop of hat. Being a nut keeps me and my mom healthy and happy.


1001030-original[1] Hand painted egg- 'Other World Egg- Pegasus in the Night- on a permanent stand
These eggs are absolutely amazing! The detail is eggquisite!

Mine-ICON What is a typical "working" day for you?

enchantedcraft A typical day begins with a quick look online for orders. I pack and ship usually around 7:20 am. After that in summer I do all the outdoor chores until lunchtime. Then it is crafting time. Winter is the opposite- I’ll craft/create in the morning and do the chore in the afternoon. Evenings are for a few hours of TV- but while we watch our science fiction or science shows both Mom and I are working. I sew, paint, bead, or make jewelry while Gigi knits or crochets. Neither one of use can just ‘sit and watch TV’.

Mine-ICON How many hours do you spend crafting?

enchantedcraft Anywhere from 2-8 hrs a day.


Mine-ICON How many hours do you spend on other things?

enchantedcraft All the rest!

Mine-ICON What about distractions? Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?

enchantedcraft There are never enough hours in a day to finish everything I want to do! Distractions… Instructables, Google +, and Facebook eat up some time each day. Also sometimes I just get wrapped up in a project and ignore everything else. I know we all have them!


1874811-original[1] OPENING Salazar Slytherin's LOCKET Horocrux recreated from the book cover Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
When I saw this, I know I gasped as my jaw dropped.  This is utterly amazing work, and for any Harry Potter fan, a must have!

Mine-ICON What happens when you Oops?

enchantedcraft Ah the horrible and yet wonderful screw ups. Unlike when I was young and often ‘overworked’ a project until it was ruined- I just don’t do that anymore. Now I usually can tell when a project is ‘just not working’ and stop. I have piles of screw-ups or almost screw-ups in every medium. They just sit around until the eureka moment when they finally become a finished item. Sometimes it takes years before I figure out what was wrong, other times I ‘fix’ it within a few days.

Mine-ICON What is your design process like? How many tries does it take to be happy with the final product?

enchantedcraft You know that hour or so when you are trying to go to sleep at night?

Well, that is when about 90% of my ideas get developed. I attempt to work out all the steps and problems I will encounter while just laying there trying to go to sleep. Anything you see build or painted in my household was built or painted at least 20 times in my mind before I start. Kinda annoying really. Like everyone I don’t always get it right in my mind- but 80% of the time I have anticipated correctly. 15% of the time I missed a few details and fight my way through the process. Then there is the 5% of the time I just can’t make reality fit my imagination no matter what.
What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? The greatest roadblock it space… I end up with just so much created that just sits and waits for the perfect person to come along and buy that OOAK item. I actually make deals with myself ‘ok- you can’t make anything new until 3 things sell out of your shops’. The problem is the really creative things I do don’t really sell. Check out some of my paintings, the things that really take some time, they just sit there longing for a new home. While something I am bored to death making over and over continues to sell. I remind myself of one of my little sayings ‘there are things you create for fun- and then there are the things that make money’. My other roadblock is… losing track of where I put a specific material or tool. It is hard to create the perfect item- when the perfect tool is just plain missing in action.

2227484-original[1] hand painted White Tree of Gondor small bag- for the fan of Lord of the Rings
I am most certainly a fan.  No matter where it is, the White Tree is always an uplifting sight.

Mine-ICON All important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?

enchantedcraft Ah pricing- my worst nightmare. I have a formula that was taught to me by a wonderful florist. It is (cost of materials x 2) + (time x wages per hour) = item price. It was the standard method of pricing floral work- at least back in the 90’s. I use it as a general guide- but usually things don’t get priced that way. I look at what the market will bear and wing it. I can safely say I am cheating myself wages 90% of the time. Sigh.

831184-original[1] World Of Warcraft HORDE Box- get your name on it
As a primarily Horde player since 199-something (When did Orcs vs Humans come out?), this item may just find its way onto my dresser, since the crest is already the ‘screen saver’ on my phone.  Lok’tar Ogar! Victory or Death!

Mine-ICON And of course, is there anything else you'd like to say to our "viewers at home"?

enchantedcraft Creating is the best therapy- create something new, share it with others, and then treasure the smiles it brings. Buy handmade and make a difference in the life of those who create and those who receive. Sure a hat from a big box store will warm your head- but one made by hand will warm a heart (or 3).


I can’t agree with that last line more.  Big Box stores may have cheap prices, but often because the things themselves are cheap.  With Handmade, you know that someone worked from start to finish with love for what they do, and know that the item you get as a gift for yourself or someone else was made with love, given with love, or found with love.

Thank you, Nicole for sharing your story and your awesome work and your mother’s.

Find Nicole and her mother’s work in lots of places!  Just check out their Facebook Page for information!

Until next time! Thanks, as always, for reading!